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Booting Up the Refurbished Resurgence: How to Meet Consumer Expectations for Used Electronics

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech industry has experienced a newfound demand for refurbished electronics.

Computers have increased by up to 91 percent in recent months. Think about it: Refurbished electronics cater to a broad audience — students who need computers for virtual school, professionals who need tech equipment to work from home, and those who want (or need) a new device but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.

Understandably, device resellers are struggling to keep up with demand. Beyond shipping out tech items in a timely manner, it’s time companies turn their focus to packaging — for protection, financial, and sustainability reasons. Here’s how device resellers can deliver a new computer experience to consumers:

Refurbished Devices: The New Needle in the Haystack

It’s not just e-learning leading the refurbished resurgence. People need devices to work or to look for work if they were furloughed or laid off. Older consumers who previously relied on public devices like library computers may want tablets to surf the web, read e-books, and keep in touch with family and friends.

As the demand for electronics soars, consumers must scour the internet to find affordable devices for purchase. Experts encourage using inventory in-stock alerts and suggest buying used and refurbished devices because new electronics are in short supply.

Buying used equates to spending less money, which is always a win for the consumer. However, if a device arrives damaged because the reseller crammed it into an ill-fitted box with no protection, it doesn’t matter how much the consumer saved on the device in the first place. Now all they will remember is the headache associated with their purchase.


Unboxing a Dream

Saving money is important. But for some consumers, receiving a new device — even if it’s technically refurbished — represents a fresh chapter in their lives: enrolling in school, starting a new job, or launching a new business from their kitchen table.

With a new or refurbished device inside, the unboxing is representative of a significant investment in one’s future, which is why it needs to look perfect when it arrives.

That’s where packaging comes in: Not only does it keep the device safe, but it also provides a memorable experience once a consumer opens the box. The goal is to make a refurbished device look like it’s brand-new, and much of that comes down to packaging. Think of it this way: There should be little difference between how a luxury brand or a reseller packages a new device.

It’s also important to note that some consumers buy refurbished electronics to reduce electronic waste and lower their carbon footprint. Consider using sustainable packaging — such as boxes made from recycled content, easy-to-recycle protective packing, or biodegradable materials — to ship items.


Fulfilling the Demand

Increased demand for refurbished devices leaves resellers with a dilemma: how to ship quickly and securely to ensure products arrive undamaged and ready for immediate use?

Keep in mind that presentation value makes a difference in the user experience. A product like  AirSpeed  HC Inspyre is considered premium packaging and provides that cultivated experience. For laptops, solutions like  AirSpeedⓇ ChamberPakTM come in various sizes to fit different devices. These inflatables can also be configured in different sizes to fit the multitude of components that may be shipped with a desktop computer or other device.

As every order is unique, packaging options need to cater to each item. A foam-in-place solution is ideal when a reseller picks each order, such as a tower, monitor, and peripherals, and then puts them into the same box. Foam-in-place packaging allows the foam to be formed to a product. Though it’s not a custom solution for all devices, it’s versatile enough to accommodate order and durable enough to protect bulky electronics from damage. And remember: Properly packaged items that arrive to their destinations intact will prevent the potential for future waste.


Optimizing the Packaging Process

Resellers need to maximize the efficiency of their packaging operations so they can fulfill orders quickly and successfully. This requires taking a holistic approach by considering different layout options, machines, and processes. Ideally, involving team members and collaborating with them from the beginning can help with optimizing operations.

However, both IntelliPack foam-in-place and AirSpeedⓇ ChamberPakTM are designed to create on-demand packaging solutions that fit and conform to the products they’re protecting, rather than requiring labor intensive processes or complex (and costly) packaging methods. Ultimately, this creates consistency, performance, and speed during the packaging process. Not everything on the floor will need changing, and with the frantic pace of some operations, introducing just one or two new machines at a time may be the best move.

Combined with more secure packaging options, optimizing operations will help device resellers meet the demand for refurbished devices today and in the future. Together, these actions will help reduce product damage, reshipping needs, and unnecessary waste due to failed packaging solutions. By making sure it’s done right the first time, both the company and consumer win.


How can you make the refurbished resurgence feel new to your customers?

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